China to develop sea-based missile interceptors
China is planning to develop a sea-based missile defense launcher after completing a successful intercept of a ballistic missile in space from a ground-based system earlier this week, Sputnik reported citing the South China Morning Post.
"China's sea-based anti-missile system aims to defend both its territory and overseas interests, because sea-based defense systems will be set up wherever its warships can go," analyst Song Zhongping said Tuesday, adding that "the first area it will target is the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean to protect its overseas interests."
The People's Liberation Army-Navy has rapidly expanded in recent years with the launch of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, in late 2016, before the construction of a second carrier in April 2017. At least four carrier groups are expected to be operating in the Chinese fleet by 2030.
Beijing has a strong interest in ensuring trading routes through the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca are secure since 75 percent of its oil imports transit those waterways.